How to File My Taxes Online

By Heather Mark

  • Overview

    There is no need to get weak in the knees this tax season. Filing your taxes online, also known as e-filing, isn't nearly as stressful as working out all the figures on paper. In most cases, it takes less than an hour to complete your taxes and send them to the IRS electronically.
  • For Income Less Than $56,000

    • Step 1

      Visit IRS.gov and click on "Free File," then click on "I Will Choose a Company." A long list of companies who can help you e-file will display. Most e-file resources offer free tax preparation for people who earned less than $56,000 in 2008. Be sure to pick a tax preparation service that meets your needs. Some of them only work in certain states or have age restrictions. If you plan to e-file your state taxes as well, look for an e-file service that also handles your state's income taxes.


    • Step 2

      Click on "Help Me Find a Company" if the list is too overwhelming. After answering a six question survey, IRS.gov will generate an abbreviated list of tax preparation services that most closely fit your needs.
    • Step 3

      To file your taxes in Spanish, use one of the following three online tax services: eSmartTax, iCanFreeFile or OnlineTaxPros.
  • For Income Greater Than $56,000

    • Step 1

      Go to IRS.gov and click the "Free File" icon on the left hand side. This will take you to the "Free File Fillable Tax Forms" page. This option is for taxpayers who know what forms they need and how to fill them out. Although there is no step-by-step automation, you will be able to perform basic calculations and submit electronically.
    • Step 2

      Click the "Choose Tax Forms" button. On the next page you'll have to click "Leave IRS Site" to acknowledge that you're connecting to a private business unaffiliated with the IRS.
    • Step 3

      Click "Start Free File Fillable Forms" when you connect to the new site. Follow the instructions to find the forms you need.
    • Skill: Moderate
    • Ingredients:
    • W-2s, 1099s or other official income documents
    • Computer with internet access
    • Printer
    • Tip: In the past, taxpayers with incomes over $56,000 were prohibited from filing for free online. This is the first time the Free File Fillable Tax Forms option has been available and you can only get them from IRS.gov.
    • Tip: Free File Fillable Tax Forms aren't just for higher income taxpayers, anyone can use them. But the higher income taxpayers can't use the standard e-file tax preparation services.

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